Patna: After the not-so-unexpected departure of Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), now it's the turn of Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to play hardball over the seat-sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar that could potentially weaken the anti-RJD, anti-Congress alliance in the state.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Chirag Paswan, an MP and the son of party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, said that he could not help but notice 'positive changes' in the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress chief, who, he said, must be applauded for his party's impressive wins in recent elections in three Hindi belt states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
"While we are busy doing politics over religion and temple, Rahul Gandhi was talking about issues that concerns everyone. There is a definite change in him that led to his party's victory in three states after a long time. If one is willing to criticize him on certain issues, one should not hesitate in giving him credits where credits are due," the MP from Jamui said.
The LJP leader appealed to the NDA leadership to drop all other issues and only focus on development if it wanted to win a second term.
Meanwhile, his uncle and brother of Ram Vilas Paswan, Pashupati Kumar Paras, at a press conference in Patna, issued an ultimatum to the BJP to finalize seat-sharing formula by the end of this month or face yet another crack in the coalition.
"We have asked for seven seats, the same number of seats we hade in 2014. Out of these seven seats, our candidates won on six. We are willing to give up Nalanda seat because we know that is a JD-U seat in exchange of a seat elsewhere," Paras said.
Expressing his disappointment with the Modi-Shah's policy of their way or highway, Paras said that both the BJP and the JD-U got together and decided how they plan to share seats in Bihar but neither his party nor the party of Upendra Kushwaha was ever consulted.
"This is not how you follow the coalition dharma. First it was Jitan Ram Manjhi who left the NDA; then Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) dropped out of the NDA. If this continues, NDA will be weakened in the coming days," Paras warned saying his party would wait until December 31 before deciding his party's move in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.